The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China
Since the 1980s, Chinese contemporary artists have cultivated intimate relationships with their materials, establishing a framework of interpretation revolving around materiality. Their media range from the commonplace to the unconventional, the natural to the synthetic, the elemental to the composite: from plastic, water, and wood, to hair, gunpowder, and Coca-Cola. Artists continue to explore and develop this creative mode, with some devoting decades of their practice to experiments with a single material. The Allure of Matter: Material Art from China brings together works from the past four decades in which conscious material choice has become a symbol of the artists’ expression, representing this unique trend throughout recent history. The Allure of Matterwill premiere at LACMA before traveling to the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, the Seattle Art Museum, and finally the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
This exhibition is accompanied by the first scholarly volume to examine Chinese art through the lens of materiality. It features full color reproductions of all the works in the exhibition, artist profiles, and new essays that draw connections between Chinese art and the role of materials in global histories of art and contemporary practice. It is co-authored by the exhibition's curators, Wu Hung, Smart Museum Adjunct Curator, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Art History, and Director of the Center for the Art of East Asia at the University of Chicago, with Orianna Cacchione, Smart Museum Curator of Global Contemporary Art.